Director Shamas Nawab Siddiqui’s short film Miyan Kal Aana highlights the exploitative nature of triple talaq and the evil practice of nikah halala. Produced by actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, the short film has been screened across the globe at 23 film festivals and won 10 awards.
Shot in Uttar Pradesh’s Budhana, Nawazuddin’s native town, each frame has a rustic appeal to it. The movie starts with a bunch of men playing cards with one of them casually talking about his wife in a derogatory manner. As Imtiaz (Jaihind Kumar) passes by them, one of the men asks him who’ll remarry his wife and sleep with her. Another man promptly responds, “I’ll sleep with her”, that’s when Imtiaz gets angry.
Imtiaz divorced his wife Shagufta (Manisha Mazara) in a fit of rage but is now regretting it. He wants her back, but that is possible only when he gets her married to another man.
According to the Halala Law, if a man arbitrarily divorces his wife and repents it later, his wife has to remarry and consummate that marriage first. And only when the second husband divorces her, can she come back to her first husband. The woman has no say in it, and Miyan Kal Aana portrays this disturbing reality in a powerful manner.
Drawing a compellingly painful parallel, one of the most remarkable scenes of the movie is when an upset Imtiaz is sending away his mare and his friend tells him “mayoos kyu ho raha, humesha ke liye thode hi ja rahi” (why are you upset? She isn’t going forever). Almost immediately, Imtiaz looks at Shagufta.
The climax of Miyan Kal Aana is perhaps as frustrating for the viewer, as it is for the female protagonist. For all of our empty talk of progress, this is reality most of India lives in.
Watch the short film here: